Moving In

From the Story Arc: Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Previous Story in the Arc: On The Same Page by Victoria Victrix (Saturday, January 10, 2009)

Next Story in the Arc: A Union of Earth And Fire by Victoria Victrix (Saturday, January 10, 2009)

(posted Saturday, January 10, 2009)

When Red entered the apartment, Victoria was fast asleep. He gave her a fond look. She was still at her desk, reclined, her head resting gently against the padded back.

Quietly, he closed the door behind him, wincing as it squeeked and snarled from un-oiled hinges. He placed the box full of his meagre possessions gently on a table. That was it, as he didn’t have much, just a few odds and ends collected over the years, souvenirs, a meagre change of clothes… He was usually in costume, after all.

That’s it. I’m moved in.

He padded over to her. Her computer was on, she had obviously fallen asleep writing. Poor Vic, on top of the work she needed done for her manuscript, she’d been busy with the October Star affair. With Bella taking care of poor Thea in Alexei’s absence, Victoria had taken on the role of control center. Any leads, any possible information on October Star’s whereabouts were sent her way. Looking up, he observed a strange juxtaposition of notes on the split screen. On the left, a scant tally of current data on possible leads on Alexei’s whereabouts. On the right, some rather heated prose of lovers in the height of passion…

She murmured in delight as his hands traced strange patterns over her body. She cried out once, placed a reassuring hand on his neck, and pulled him towards her. They moved as one, a fevered pitch, and his warmth brought her to her full, and again…

He felt his lips slowly spread into a grin. He couldn’t help it, he found this sort of stuff terribly amusing. Still, he had to admit his girl had passion. Leaning down he gave her a kiss, and she stirred a bit, humming. Gently, he reached down and lifted her in his arms, carrying her off to bed.

He placed her softly on neatly-made sheets and watched as she unconsciously adjusted herself, rolling onto her side, murmuring.

“… nnn… too much toad… patch the forest… dancing idiots…”

Okay, that was too cute.

Careful not to disturb, he lay down slowly behind her, and pulled himself to her. Her hair smelled of berries, and he smiled as he burrowed a soft kiss on her neck. He had been doing that an awful lot of late. But it was overdue, having just had his face restored. Those maverick boys at Iconics, say what you wanted about their methods, they got the job done. Red had discovered in recent days, now with a smaller bioregenerator unit covering only the base of his new jaw, that he was completely restored. He could eat and drink again if he chose, though these acts were still unnecessary. Rory’s spiced wine had been the first, a glorious flood of sensation igniting every taste bud to life after 15 long, dormant years. It had been the closest thing to a religious experience Red had felt since his childhood.

Well, perhaps with the exception of watching two angels confront each other. It had been that kind of month.

Vic stirred again.

“… mmm… Enrico? That you…? Shouldn’t be here… Red might come back any moment…”

He stopped, pulled back a moment, and noticed she had buried her face in the pillows, trying desperately not to laugh.

Not funny.

She continued to shake silently, and finally broke out in a chortle of laughter.

Alright, he admitted to himself. That was a little funny.

She rolled over and met his look full on. She was smiling, her eyes soft and beautiful.

“Hey,” was all he could think to say, bringing his fingers up to stroke her hair.

“Hey yourself.”

“You’re running yourself ragged, y’know. How long do you think you can keep this pace up?”

She sighed. “As long as I need to. Manuscript needs work, deadline’s looming. And Alexei… I need to co-ordinate the searches and intell, or else nothing will get done. He’s only been missing for a day, but everyone’s panicking, out looking for him…”

“Not… everyone…” he said, closing his eyes.

“Red…”

“Shhh…” he whispered, and drew her closer. She surrendered, and clung tightly to him. They were silent for a long while, and her light, steady breathing told him she had let the exhaustion take her away.

Alexei.

Red wanted to help, more, he felt a compulsion to help. If someone, anyone, was in trouble the Alliance made themselves available. It was what they did. But this was the CCCP, and sometimes Red wished he could just sever ties from them completely. He couldn’t, of course. He had too much invested in them, in their people. Those he considered friends and family were there, and Vic, who was now so much more. Even Nat. Damn her, even Nat.

Before, though plagued by his own demons, Red’s course of action had been simple. Althea Nagy had been captured by the Council. The CCCP had managed to obtain her location. The plan was simple. Break in and bust Althea out.

Simple, until he heard Nat herself issue the order to kill.

Everything had changed then.

Red had to be honest with himself, he was still confused over the whole affair. He’d been there once and knew the reasoning behind killing your enemies. He’d done so on more than one occasion. In years past, he had felt it justified. Now, he stood for something more, something greater. And he couldn’t stand by and watch others kill anyone either. It was one of the cornerstones of the Alliance.

We’re heroes. We ACT like heroes.

How to reconcile this? He still didn’t know. What he knew, he knew, was that the city was better for having the CCCP in it. Hell, he was better himself for having them in his life. So he was doing the only thing he could, distancing himself as much as he could from them. For if he ever had reason to bring them down, if he was ever faced with that dilemma again…

… he couldn’t allow himself to hesitate.

And… that went for Vic as well… right?

She had admitted as much to him, she was a killer, and would likely kill again. And Red knew she didn’t mean the accidents. No, she meant full-out, premeditated, and executed in cold blood. And if it ever came to that…

… if it comes to that… what will I do?

He heard her mumble something into his chest, and drew back. Her eyes opened, and favoured him with a sleepy grin.

“Mmmmm…. what are you thinking about?”

He looked away, and covered up by holding her close again.

“Nothing.”